As today’s economic recovery is slow and unpredictable, mid-market executives are adapting to managing this uncertainty, according to Deloitte's new survey, "Mid-Market Perspectives: 2012 Report on America's Economic Engine."
"Because of the significantly slower growth than we've seen in previous recoveries, mid-market executives are increasingly cautious about their expectations for 2012," says Tom McGee, national managing partner, Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services, Deloitte LLP. "Mid-market companies are now trying to meet the challenges of this volatile economy by taking a more adaptable approach to managing certain key business fundamentals."
Last year, respondents were overly optimistic about hiring plans while respondents in 2012 are investing in their people and moderating plans to bring on new employees. In fact, 42 percent of respondents plan to hire more domestic workers, a decline from 48 percent in 2011. Recruiting is also a problem as every respondent reports it being difficult to find skilled workers, particularly those in engineering, health care and information technology.
Another 51 percent of respondents intend to invest in their existing employees through training compared to last year at 34 percent. Only 13 percent of respondents expect to bring in more part-time workers as opposed to 18 percent in 2011.
Regarding finances, 35 percent of respondents anticipate having higher cash balances, and 90 percent of respondents believe capital investments will grow or remain steady. Twenty-seven percent of respondents say they do not expect to secure external financing this year in comparison to 14 percent in 2011. Only 7 percent of privately held respondents say they would possibly become public in the next year.
On the technology front, business process automation reigns as the top investment pick to increase productivity by 46 percent of respondents, although that is down from 52 percent in 2011. Forty percent of respondents, which is up from 29 percent last year, say cloud computing and software as a service round out the other top technology investments.